With the season quickly changing from warm to cold, everyone is in a rush to switch out their closets with the appropriate clothing to stay warm this fall and soon to be winter. With everyday warmth on the brain, staying warm on the trail and prepared for winter conditions should be too. Here are our top choices for winter boots when heading out in the cold weather this year.

Vasque Snowburban

The Vasque Snowburbans, may be a “Porridge is just right” kind of winter hiking boot.The Snowburbans are designed primarily for cold weather use. They also have some neat features that set them apart as a superior snowshoe-specific boot. Those features include a built-out ridge on your heel that acts as a ledge for your binding strap to rest on and prevents the strap from slipping under your heel if there is inadvertent loosening. The material over the top of your foot also seems to be a bit beefed up, which assists in distributing the binding pressure over a wider area and limits foot fatigue and pain.The Snowburbans weigh in at 3 lbs, 3 ounces, which when you consider that they are insulated with 400 grams of Thinsulate and they are a full height (9 inches) boot, feels pretty light.

Salewa Condor

The Condor boots required absolutely no break-in time. Straight out of the box I took them on a 15 mile backpacking trip and suffered zero blisters, hotspots, or discomfort. These boots live up to Salewa’s Zero Blister policy. With lace locks on the third eyelet and four lace eyelet hooks up the ankle, this boot locks onto your foot. No matter how rugged or heavy a load you may be carrying, they offer phenomenal ankle support. The heel pull loops on these boots are HUGE. Why more companies do not do this is beyond me. Even with heavily insulated gloves, getting these boots on is not an issue. With the high ankle support and gusseted tongue, these boots are definitely waterproof. Even after walking and standing in a creek for over ten minutes, no water soaked through. The bright green color-wave is pretty awesome and if you ever get lost you can use them to signal the rescue helicopter! (Not really.)

Salewa Rapace

The Rapace boots reflects this high level of competence, responsibility, and development and is a great all-around boot suitable for any type of adventure. Just make sure that you have a suitable break-in time before taking these boots out on their first adventure. They are a very light boot – weighing in at a scant 1.45lbs per pair, you will hardly notice them on your feet. If you will be heading out in sub-zero temps and deep snow you will probably want to opt for a boot with more insulation. However for spring, summer, and early fall multi-day and single day ventures where you need excellent mobility and support these boots are an excellent companion.

Garmont Tower Plus GTX

While it is their most expensive boot, coming in at $364, the Tower Plus GTX is designed to be light but still allow one to comfortably carry a very heavy load. The upper is constructed from leather, it features a Vibram sole, and it offers a GoreTex lining for all weather protection. The lacing system has three hooks that allow one to unlace the boot very far down. This makes it easier to take the boot on and off than, say, a boot with eyelets all the way to the top. The boot has a roomy toe box, a specially-designed tongue that doesn’t shift from side to side, and a durable protective rubber rand that wraps high and all the way around.

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